If measurements showing neutrinos moving 60 nanoseconds quicker than light are confirmed, modern phyics as we know it may be turned on its head.
By Haaretz Published 21:22 22.09.11
An international team of scientists has recorded neutrino particles travelling faster than the speed of light, a spokesman for the researchers said on Thursday -- in what could be a challenge to one of the fundamental rules of physics.
Antonio Ereditato, who works at the CERN particle physics center on the Franco-Swiss border, told Reuters that measurements over three years showed the neutrinos moving 60 nanoseconds quicker than light over a distance of 730 km between Geneva and Gran Sasso, Italy.
"We have high confidence in our results. But we need other colleagues to do their tests and confirm them," he said.
Dr. Ereditato conducted the research with his colleagues by preparing beams of just one type, muon neutrinos, sending them from Cern to an underground laboratory at Gran Sasso in Italy. They then checked how many of the beams showed up as tau neutrinos, the BBC reported.
While conducting experiment, the researchers noticed that the particles showed up 60 billionths of a second sooner than light would have over the same distance, the BBC report said.
The team then measured the travel times of neutrino bunches roughly 15,000 times, reportedly reaching a level of statistical significance that in scientific circles would be considered a formal discovery.
If confirmed, the discovery would overturn a key part of Albert Einstein's 1905 theory of special relativity, which says that nothing in the universe can travel faster than light.
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